Hours leaf, c. 1475, brightly illuminated.

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Quality calligraphy, illuminations and vellum.

The Office of the Dead (its old name was Office for the Dead) was in the back of every Book of Hours the way death itself was always at the back of the medieval mind.   It was the cause of considerable anguish for medieval men and women to think of the potentially long periods of time their relatives would spend in the painful fires of purgatory. Along with the funding of funerary Masses, praying the Office was considered the most efficacious means of reducing this fiery price of obtaining paradise. These aids were essential, because only the living could help the dead. The  Office of the Dead includes a moving series of readings from the Old Testament Book of Job. The trials endured by Job become an allegory for one's time on earth, or one’s relatives in purgatory.

Verso:  Text in Latin written in an assured Gothic bookhand on vellum in brown ink.   Ruled in red and rubrics in red.   One two-line illuminated initial ‘D’ in raised and burnished gold on a ground of blue and pink outlined in black and with white penwork.  Four one-line illuminated initials and two line fillers.

Recto:  As Verso, with five one-line illuminated initials and three line fillers.

Origin:  Northern France, probably Paris.

Date:   c.1475

Content: The text on Recto is part of Psalm 62 which finishes on Verso.  The large illuminated initial 'D' then begins Psalm 66 (KJV 67): Deus misereatur nostri, et benedicat nobis: illuminet vultum suum super nos, et misereatur nostri.  Ut cognoscamus in terra viam tuam: in omnibus gentibus salutare tuum.

(God have mercy upon us, and bless us: illuminate his countenance upon us, and have mercy upon us.  That we may know thy way in earth: in all nations thy salvation.)

Condition: The leaf is in excellent condition on high quality vellum and with bright illuminations. It is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.

Size: Leaf: approx. 205x150 mm. Text and illuminated area : approx. 115x75 mm.

Item No: MBH127a

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